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Whose Is Justice in Georgia?

08.09.2009
Shorena Kakabadze, Kutaisi

“Justice belongs to the people” Dimitri Shashkin, Minister of Penitentiary, Probation and Legal Aid of Georgia, made this statement several days ago when family members of the convicted Lasha Imedadze were trying to find justice at Kutaisi prison N 2. On the same day, the relatives of the prisoner could not leave the complaint to the head of the prison despite many attempts.

Lasha Imedadze is convicted for stealing a TV-set and he was put in prison for 21 years. But his sentence is nothing in comparison with the conditions he had to stand initially in Kutaisi prison N 2 and then in Ksani jail. Mother of 20-year-old prisoner said she has been worried since her son was taken to Ksani jail before the court passed judgment.

“Why did they take him from here? Maybe because he saw many illegal things here and was speaking about it loudly. Once he was bounded to the stairs and then was beaten. When we asked the reason, the reply of the prison administration was they punished my son for loud laughing. Then he was dragged into the cell and spent one week in single cell. He has been in Ksani for 8 months already. The trial had not finished yet when he was taken to Ksani. Why did they take him from the native city? The crime was committed here and the trial was to be held here as well. I know my son was often taken into the office of the head of prison and he was beaten there. Zurab Rukhaia, the head of the prison, was beating him... It is torture and it is prohibited by the law... The head of the prison was personally interested in his removal to Ksani; he wanted to get rid of my son,” said Nana Imedadze, mother of Lasha Imedadze.

The mother of prisoner has already applied to Madona Basilidze, head of the Public Defender’s Office in the Western Georgia and to Manana Managadze, former chairperson of the Public Monitoring Commission of the Kutaisi Prison N 2.

“The accused cannot be taken to another detention setting before the sentence is finally formulated. It can happen after the trial finishes and the charge is officially confirmed. After that, the convicted is placed in the detention setting in comply with his/her punishment. Before that the prisoner cannot be replaced. If a prisoner is sick person and needs urgent medical treatment, similar actions can take place. However, there is jail hospital in Kutaisi Prison N 2 and medical treatment of prisoner cannot be a problem nowadays,” said Manana Managadze.

According to the relatives, Imedadze was often placed in the single cell in Kutaisi prison. He was often beaten despite the fact he was hungry and had poor health. Later, he was taken to Ksani for no reason; Imedadze did not attend the trial in Kutaisi City Court.

“Bailiff arrived without my son. When I asked why they had not brought my son to the trial, the bailiff told me prosecutor had not told them to. Later, we learned my son was beaten and tortured. In addition to that he was found guilty for not-committed crime and sent him to prison for 21 years. Now they want to kill my son in the prison,” said Nana Imedadze.

She said her son cannot receive the money transferred on his personal bank account. “I know he needs money to feed properly but the sum was not taken from his account. It means he is still in the single cell and nobody knows how long he will stay there. Let them return him to Kutaisi prison; in this case I will know that my son is close to me and I will be calmer.”

Lasha Imedadze’s family appealed to the head of Kutaisi Prison N 2. In the appeal the mother demands Zurab Ruskhaia explanation why her son was taken to Ksani before final trail was held. Nana Imedadze managed to leave the appeal in Prison despite the resistance of the prison administration. However, he does not hope to be replied.

Despite many attempts the Human Rights Center could not get information from the head of the Kutaisi Prison N 2. Zurab Rukhaia does not reply to phone calls.

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